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Monday, February 28, 2011

Alaska in February, of course!

Finally made it to Moose Pass!
Lindsay and I (Karen) had the amazing opportunity to travel to Moose Pass, Alaska to visit my dear friend, Wendy Joy Milligan....this is the friend who Lindsay Joy is named for.  We spent five full days with Wendy and her beautiful family in their beautiful location.  Although it seems odd to got to Alaska in February, it was actually a great time to visit.  First, the mountains were stunning covered with snow.  Second, because there was less daylight and less to do outside, Wendy and I got to spend a lot of time "doing life together" and TALKING...oh, and drinking chai lattes :) 

Two things stand out most about the trip.  First, is the time Wendy and I did have together.  We quickly and naturally reconnected as if we see each other daily, rather than reality: that we live thousands of miles apart in very different worlds.  She is a rare and treasured friend who "gets" me and ...I think... I "get" her.  (WHAAAAA?!) What a blessing.  The other thing: meeting Karis Lemlem, Mark and Wendy's daughter who they recently adopted from Ethiopia (she had only been home 2 months when we came to visit).  I loved the time really getting to know all four of their kids, but it was really a gift to hold and love this beautiful baby girl...and listen to that giggle.

We spent one day with Wendy's family in Soldotna taking family portraits (Lindsay and I spectated...well, there was a picture taken of Wendy and I that looked oddly like an engagement picture, but....), eating Coldstone's, having lunch at Wendy's parent's home (in that order), and laughing a whole lot....I mean, really, these people live up to the responsibility of having the last name: Joy!  It was so fun to see all of Wendy's sisters and her Mom and Dad again.  We went to Moose Pass Community Church on Sunday where Mark is the Pastor and Wendy leads great to see and experience what they have been pouring their hearts into for so long.  We drove to Seward one day to gawk at the mountains dropping into the sea (actually, it's a fjord)...amazing!  Andrew (Wendy's oldest, 8 yrs) and I went snowshoeing on our last day there...what a blast! 

Lindsay did great on all the flights!  Thanks for the prayers.  Only a few minor hiccups....but, I could see and feel God's grace through the whole experience of flying so far with a toddler on my lap.  He is so good!  She is a great little travel companion!  Thankfully, she is also living up to the name "Joy"!

The whole experience was so ....hard to sum up in words.  It was a gift, it was fun, it was an adventure, it was a challenge, it was beautiful, it was heart-filling (I don't know if that's a real phrase, but it works for me), it was life-giving.  Thank you, God!  Thank you, Wendy and Mark!  Thank you Chip and Mom for making it possible! And, thanks to all of you who prayed us through the travel!  (I sound like I'm accepting an Oscar :)

Taken from the Milligan's living room the first morning we were there.  As the sun came up I could not believe what I was seeing (we arrived in the dark).

Almost time to say a tearful goodbye at the beautiful Anchorage airport.

Karis Lemlem Milligan...aka: Cutie Patootie!

Moderately successful attempt at brainwashing the Milligan children (Andrew: 8, Anna: 3, Jacob, 6).

Seward...a sight to behold!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Too much snow?

You know you've had a lot of snow when even the snowman says, "Enough is Enough!"

This was actually taken several weeks ago.  Since then, after some warm days and even some sleet & rain, he's not looking so good.  Guess he shouldn't have been complaining after all!

Sunday afternoons with friends

This afternoon, our buddy Joe came over to play.  We had a surprise snow storm drop 6" instead of 1-2" that had been promised.  So, after a pizza lunch we went tubing in the back yard.  We had a great time... just a little too much speed kept the boys jumping over the 4' backstop.  Fortunately, no injuries!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Boston Tea Party

Lindsay chillin with her peeps...

Ice Skating

Ice skating was the one thing Chase asked to do during February vacation week.  After spending most of the week with a house of sick people, Friday Karen was finally able to take Chase and Zach ice skating at the local rink.  The boys used the new skates they got for Christmas and had a great time.  Z spent most of the time gripping Karen, but ventured out on his own a little.  C on the other hand, really enjoys his independence.  He's still mostly just walking on the skates, but every once in awhile, there's an actually push and glide... it just takes time.